Celsus library, Ephesus
Ephesus ancient site
|Temple of Artemis, Ephesus
If you would like to see the best preserved ancient city in Turkey, or even in the world, this is it. Tours to Ephesus from Istanbul, Izmir, Kusadasi or Selcuk are disposable at your service all year long if you want a nice guided tour which Ephesus deserves. Located at just 3 km from Selcuk, 20 km from Kusadasi and an hour drive from Izmir Airport, you can make connections practically to any part of the world from there. For the ones making overnight stays, Selcuk or Kusadasi hotels are the best choices of accommodation.
Originally an Ionian harbor city with its Hellenistic roots, this huge open air museum dates back to 6000 BC during which the first early settlements had begun. Ionian colonization was completed at around 1000 BC. Nowadays situated at about 8 km from the sea due to alluviums deposited by the Cayster (Kucukmenderes) river, it offers great historical treasures belonging to Greek, Roman and Byzantine cultures.
Ephesus was the wealthiest of all Greek settlements along the west coast of Anatolia. The fleets carried to different ports of the Mediterranean the luxurious goods produced in this region: pottery, fine fabrics, carpets, furniture, metal objects, precious metals. Although rebuilt and relocated many times because of Lydian and Persian invasions and the silting up of its original harbor, it did not lose anything from its sheer beauty and cultural richness.
Ephesus has a long list of historic and religious figures including Mother Mary, St. John (John the Apostle), Alexander the Great and Heraclitus the philosopher who once said:"..you can and cannot step in the same stream twice". It is also one of the sacred cities of Christianity as the Seven Churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation also acknowledges Ephesus. It is said that Gospel of John has been written in Ephesus as St. John who accompanied Mother Mary to this historical city is believed to have spent some time and been buried there.
After becoming a part of the Roman empire, Ephesus was designated as the capital of the Asian provinces with a population over 200.000 people. Finally, during the retreat of Byzantians in front of the Seljuks in whole Anatolia region, by 1100 AD, the habitants started to abandon Ephesus to move inland due to complete silting up of the port. Now completely silent but beautiful as ever, it still keeps telling us those remarkable stories of the mankind on this planet. You will be amazed while walking on the streets of Ephesus. The statues and structures worth visiting are:
The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The House of Virgin Mary that is believed to have been the last home of Mary, mother of Jesus. A popular place of pilgrimage, also been visited by several Popes including Pope Benedict XVI who celebrated Mass there in 2006.
The Celsus Library, a beautiful ancient structure which has been built in 125 AD. It was the third richest library of its times with a capacity of more than 12.000 manuscripts.
The Great Theater with an unbelievable seating capacity of 25,000 that has seen some gladiator action as well.
The Temple of Domitian,dedicated to Emperor Domitian was the first structure in Ephesus built in the name of an emperor. It was a great honor for a city back then.
The Trajan Fountain, constructed for the honor of emperor Trajan, containing a pool surrounded by columns and statues, it is one of the most beautiful treasures in Ephesus.
Baths of Scholastica that was built in the 1st century AD can give service to 1000 habitants at the same time.
Curettes and Marble streets featuring a nice combination of stone, marble and mosaics as road building materials
Terrace houses where the "creme de la creme" of the Ephesus used to live.
You can also visit Selcuk Museum that offers a great collection of the artifact excavated from the site.